After taking a hard-won point on the road in their first match of the season, Reign FC (0-0-1, 1 point) will face the Orlando Pride (0-2-0, 0 points) in their first-ever match at Cheney Stadium on Sunday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m. PT.
“Your first match at home is always a special one,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “We want to put in a good performance for our supporters in our first match at Cheney Stadium.”
Reign FC is 38-12-17 with 131 points all-time in home contests, including a 7-1-4 ledger under Andonovski in 2018. The club has outscored opponents 132-68 in its regular season home contests and by a 17-8 margin at home in 2018.
“We have to start right away at turning Cheney Stadium into a fortress,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “We have always prided ourselves in being very good at home and we want to be the same way in our new stadium.”
Orlando is goalless in two matches this season. The club lost its home opener 2-0 to Portland Thorns FC April 14, before dropping a 5-0 result on the road to defending NWSL champions North Carolina Courage in a midweek fixture April 17.
"The Pride haven't had the start they would like," Andonovski said. "Sometimes that can make a team more dangerous. They are a talented squad with world-class players, so we'll have to be at our best Sunday to get a result."
Up front, Orlando boast the services of Brazil’s Marta and Alex Morgan, who scored her 100th goal for the U.S. Women’s National Team April 4. The Pride also rely on English forward Chioma Ubogagu, who tallied four goals in 2018.
Orlando similarly struggled to find the back of the net at the end of 2018. The club has one goal in its last six league matches stretching back to August 11, 2018.
Defensively, Orlando keeper Ashlyn Harris leads the NWSL in saves with 14 after two matches.
Last Match: 1-1 Draw in Houston
Reign FC was off-balance early in its season opener against Houston. Despite controlling the opening minutes of play, Reign FC conceded an early goal to forward Nichelle Prince after a back pass was mishandled in the box. Injuries also had an impact on the match. Jasmyne Spencer left the match in the 26th minute and centerback Megan Oyster had to be removed in the 40th minute, both due to injury.
The club recovered in the second half, however. Forward Darian Jenkins scored her first NWSL goal in the 58th minute in a 1-1 draw. Reign forward Jodie Taylor drew a penalty in second-half stoppage time, but Houston keeper Jane Campbell made a diving save to keep the Reign from taking all three points on the road.
The game also featured the NWSL debut of multiple Reign FC players, including Spanish international defender Celia Jiménez Delgado, Australian international Elise Kellond-Knight, and forward Bethany Balcer.
Reign FC announced April 18 that forward Jasmyne Spencer had torn her left ACL and is expected to miss the remainder of the NWSL season.
“We want to wish Jasmyne a speedy recovery,” Andonovski said. “While we are sad that she won’t be able to be a part of our efforts on the field this season, we are still grateful for her infectious energy and spirit in the locker room. We know she’ll still have a big impact on this team”
Other injuries have improved for Reign FC. Both Megan Rapinoe and Stephanie Catley have been upgraded to ‘questionable’ after missing the season opener with calf strains and Beverly Yanez has recovered from a concussion and will be available for selection Sunday.
"You never want to be carrying too many injuries at any point in the season," Andonovski said. "But this is a good team that has worked hard over the preseason to be match-fit from day one. We got a result with the group we had on the road, I believe this group can produce at home."
Home Sweet Home
Sunday’s home opener will be the first at Cheney Stadium for Reign FC. The club’s move to the South Sound is part of a partnership between Reign FC and the parent company of the Tacoma Rainiers (who also co-own Tacoma Defiance with Seattle Sounders FC). Cheney Stadium is also home to the Tacoma Rainiers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, and the Defiance, the USL Championship affiliate of Seattle Sounders FC. Cheney Stadium is capable of undergoing a dramatic transformation to take it from a regulation baseball diamond to a 110-by-70 yard soccer pitch.
Cheney Stadium underwent a $30 million renovation before the 2011 season which added 16 luxury suites, a 4,000 square foot club space and additional space for concessions and restrooms, and has since undergone an additional $7MM in improvements, adding new hospitality space and a brand new club space, known as the 1882 Club.
How to Watch
Tickets for Sunday’s historic match can be purchased at Ticketmaster, via phone at 855-REIGN-FC, or at the Cheney Stadium box office.
Fans in the U.S. unable to attend the match in person can watch the game on their phone, computer or streaming device on Yahoo! Sports, while fans outside the U.S. can watch the match live on NWSLsoccer.com.